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Memories of Silvertown industry working in Venesta Foils

PUBLISHED: 17:08 20 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:23 05 October 2010

PEOPLE who worked at a Venesta aluminium factory from the Second World War till the factory in Silvertown, East London, closed 17 years ago are getting together for a works reunion.’ They will talk about their experiences of working on the North Woolwich Road as one of the first reminiscence’ sessions being organised in a three-year Working Lives of the Thames Gateway/B> community history project

PEOPLE who worked at a Venesta aluminium factory from the Second World War till the factory in Silvertown, East London, closed 17 years ago are getting together for a 'works reunion.'

They will talk about their experiences of working on the North Woolwich Road as one of the first 'reminiscence' sessions being organised in a three-year Working Lives of the Thames Gateway community history project.

The hour-long session for anyone who worked at Venesta Foils in Silvertown, which was in production from 1911 to 1991, is being held at St Luke's Community Centre, Canning Town, on Friday, July, 4, beginning 11am.

They are getting together to talk about their experiences of working on the North Woolwich road.

Venesta's made Mosquito aircraft for the RAF during the war. It became Aluminium Foils in the post-war years and then British Alcan, making plywood mainly for tea chests, packaging for Birdseye foods, Oxo cubes and Bacofoil.

Rosa Vilbr, a project officer at Eastside Community Heritage, says: "Some people remember that Venesta's was bombed several times during the war and what it was like to work in the incredible heat of parts of the works, which apparently stopped you getting a cold.

"The works stayed in North Woolwich for 80 years and was open longer than many famous works like Standard Telephone Cables or the Silvertown Rubber Company."

She added: "People have interesting and good memories of their working lives at Venesta's that should be celebrated and recorded for future generations."

The overall project, paid for by the Heritage Lottery fund, aims to record the experiences of working in industry right across East London, from Whitechapel to Romford on the north side of the Thames and Woolwich to Bexley on the south side.

Some 200 interviews are being conducted and educational workshops and community projects will make sure the history of working in industry is not forgotten.

All previous employees of Venestas, Aluminium Foils and British Alcan are being invited to the event at St Luke's Community Centre at 89 Tarling-road, Canning Town, E16 1HN, on Friday, July 4, from 11am to 12 noon.

More information online at:

www.hidden-histories.org.uk


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